Import price steam coal

What does the survey comprise?


Providing quarterly figures on the import price of steam coal from non-EU countries.

Target population

Companies based in the Netherlands that import steam coal.

Statistical unit

Statistics Netherlands has a general business register (ABR) describing the Dutch business population as statistical units. The statistical units Enterprise, Enterprise Group and Local Unit are derived from this register. The register forms the basis for the definition of the population and the sampling of many business statistics, including the coal statistics.

Date/year survey started

Figures on the import price of steam coal are available from 1981.


Companies that import steam coal are surveyed every quarter.

Publication strategy

Provisional figures on the import price of steam coal are published on StatLine in the fourth month after the quarter under review. All figures become definite in the seventh month after the quarter under review.

How is the survey conducted

Survey type

Figures on the import price and the import weight by country of origin are derived from the international trade statistics. The calorific value of the imported coals is determined with information derived from the indigenous production, transformation and consumption of energy statistics. If no calorific value is available, old figures are used or figures from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Survey method

The survey is conducted through questionnaires that can be completed online combined with a registration.


Traders or energy companies based in the Netherlands that import, transform or consume steam coal. 

Sample size

The sample consists of about 15 companies.

Checking and correction methods

Values that differ significantly from the average are not taken into account. Individual and aggregated figures get a plausibility check. This is done by comparing the previous period with the corresponding periods of previous years.


Not applicable

Quality of the results


Mainly depends on the accuracy of the import price according to the invoice and the net calorific value. The import price based on calorific value is reported in euro/gigajoules (euro/GJ).

Sequential comparability

From 1987 onwards steam coal includes other bituminous coals. The time series 1981-1986 only shows steam coal and therefore it is not comparable to the time series from 1987 onwards. 10 countries joined the EU on 1 May 2004 reducing the number of non-EU countries as of the third quarter of 2004. The steam coal imports from these countries are small. In the second quarter of 2004, imports from the new EU countries were 4 percent of total imports from non EU-countries (then EU-15). Since 2005 prices are based on the international trade statistics observed through registers. Up to 2005 there was a separate hard coal survey in the Netherlands. The European Union consists of 28 member states (EU-28) since 1 July 2013.

Quality strategy

  • Results of the international trade statistics are compared with the energy statistics. Net imports must equal the energy consumption in the Netherlands.
  • Results are compared with the import price in other EU countries.